Multimodality from another point of view
The escape room an adaptation of the STEAM game
The objective of the STEAM project was to explain multimodality to teachers so that they could use it as a basis for proposing combinations, original educational and engaging modalities for their learners. During the event which was held on 5th June 2019 at the Paris School of Business, international speakers (Germany, England, Finland, France, Denmark, Italy) exemplified multimodality through their work. The event began with a presentation of multimodality and feedback on the tests performed on the STEAM game. The serious game developed by one of the partners and coordinator of the project Manzalab is available online and can only be tested on a computer.
STEAM the acronym for multimodality
Figure 1 : STEAM interface
This game called STEAM is the acronym for "Serious game to Train Experts in Advanced Multimodality". It presents the modality according to a combination of strategy, tool and learning environment. Each combination chosen by the trainer is more or less engaging and corresponds to specific learning needs. And it is the combination of different modalities that constitutes multimodality. Thus, depending on the pedagogical objectives and the teacher's resources, many physical or digital spaces can be exploited. The particularity of STEAM is that it is the result of a research project that identified engaging modalities and methods of learning that promote the memorization of the learner in an immersive space that could divert him from the pedagogical objectives. In addition to the game scenario proposed by the STEAM project partners (SEDU, Coventry University, Vucstor, AFBB, Manzalab), a library also offers other combinations.
The locations vary from the classroom to the street through to the botanical garden. As a strategy, a large panel is also presented. You can have a debate, an inverted class or project-based learning. As for the tools, we have, for example, virtual reality, serious games and the blog. It is quite possible to combine these different elements without taking into account the proposals of the STEAM game because there are no good or bad combinations.
The escape room, another representation of multimodality
To illustrate these recommendations and allow professionals to take a different approach to the concept of multimodality, we have proposed an adaptation of the serious game STEAM into a life-size escape game. The escape room is classroom-based and is played by a group. It is also proposed to further promote collaborative learning in the application of multimodality. It gives participants the opportunity to learn by doing in a recreative environment. The different enigmas associated not with a place but with different objects, comply with the principles of multimodality. The strategies mobilized by the players are learning by inquiry, by doing, interdisciplinarity and collaborative learning. The main tool used is the game with exchange sequences. All this takes place in a physical space.
The escape room is built according to a narrative framework that refers to the character and sets of the online game with a customization of the experience. The objective of the game is to experience multimodality in such a way as to understand it during and even after the session. Each 45-minute session for a maximum of 7 players allowed for an immersive experience in a short period. The time span of the offered experience also anticipated potential misunderstandings between participants who would not know each other and from different cultural backgrounds.
During the event, we have set up a classroom at the Paris School of Business (partner of the event) for this purpose and 2 groups of volunteers tested the escape room. They answered a questionnaire at the end of the game.
Results of the experience and perspectives
Figure 2 : some results of the escape room questionnaire
At the end of the experiment, debriefing allows to answer various questions and interact with the master and designer of the game. The results of the questionnaire provided to the participants, present an overall satisfactory experience of 80%. Half of the participants who had not tested the online game before the physical experience were able to identify the principles of multimodality with the escape game. This leads us to add that the modality adopted to solve engagement issues complements traditional learning for greater efficiency. It can take place at the beginning of the training to catch the attention, throughout to energize it and at the end to crystallize the shared information.
The objectives of the STEAM project were to intensify digital tools in education and to offer long-term opportunities for improvement in the use of multimodality for the entire European education system. The results of the first tests with this STEAM game show us that it allows us to improve the knowledge of young teachers than on more mature teachers. Following this closing event of the project over 3 years, collaborations were born, a network was consolidated and multimodality was presented on different facets, especially in face-to-face with the escape room. Some partners are considering exploiting this form of learning in their countries. The objectives set have therefore been achieved. But like any research project, it is never really finished.